I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas this past weekend! Mine was okay, except I didn't have my munchkins this year because they spent the holiday with their mom. Still though, I got to spend it with others who are also very important to me, but I digress...

I wanted to show you the custom knife sheaths I made for my USN KA-BAR knife, my Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro Survival Knife and my Hawke Peregrine 2.0 knife. Out of these three, the only one that had a stock knife sheath that I hated was the Bear Grylls knife. The others have really well made sheaths. Still though, I like the mountain man style of sheath and felt that these knives would look cooler on me if I was wearing them in a custom leather sheath that I made myself!

Let's start with my KA-Bar sheath. This was actually the third one I made, so by the time I had this one done I was getting pretty good at sheath making. My only problem with stock KA-BAR sheaths is that they hang too low in my opinion. I prefer my knives to ride a little higher, and with the single slot mountain man style I can also comfortable wear it on the small of my back!

Custom KA-Bar mountain man sheath

This next one is my favorite! It's for my Bear Grylls knife. The reason it is my favorite is not only because I think it turned out the best, but also because the stock sheath looked so cheesy! This sheath makes the Bear Grylls knife look so cool in my opinion! Just like the other sheaths, this is made using the one slit mountain man style. The difference between this one and the other two is that because the knife doesn't really have a hilt I was able to mold the leather to fit over the handle part way by soaking the leather first in water and drying it over the blade and handle thus making a securing strap unnecessary.

Custom Bear Grylls mountain man sheath
Finally here is the sheath I made for the Hawke Peregrine 2.0 knife. It was the first sheath I made and although I'm happy with it, it didn't turn out as good as I wanted. After making this one I quickly figured out the rivets were not necessary, the inner piece of leather needed to be a tad bit thicker and I could have used a little more leather cement to secure it. Still though, the sheath is durable and I've taken it out in the wild several times now without issue.

Custom Hawke Peregrine mountain man sheath

You can also see that on every one of these knives I added a ferro rod holder strap so I can take a combustion tool with me no matter where I go. The Bear Grylls knife is the only one that comes with one as a part of its stock sheath. Having the ferro rod in place also helps to better secure the sheath to my belt.

I think if I were to do any of these over again I would use thicker leather. For the bulk of the sheath I used some strap leather from Crazy Crow Trading Post, and it turned out to not be very thick at all. The inner pieces of leather I picked up from Michaels and is bordering on raw hide. I think I'd use a belt type leather next time, but these ones will be fine for now.

So what do you think? Like them, hate them? Let me know in the comments!

EDIT: After writing this post I decided to make a new sheath for the Hawke Peregrine, and I decided to go with a similar design to my Bear Grylls sheath. One difference though is in the ferro rod holder. I made this one longer and tighter to ensure the rod stayed in more secure. I LOVE this one! Check it out!

 A few years ago I bought an Eco Safety first-aid kit to pack with me when I go off adventuring in the wild for about $25. It's a pretty good pack, but a great majority of it is kind of a waste in my opinion. Well, recently read Lofty Wiseman's SAS Survival Handbook and he offers a pretty simple medical kit that seemed to me to be more relevant to my area than the commercial Eco Smart one. Wiseman says that the items he recommends will cover most ailments.
I decided to head to my local Dollar Tree to see if I could make an affordable first aid kit loosely based on Wiseman's recommendations. I substituted a few items he recommended, but I think what I came up with will take care of just about everything I need if I'm in the back country.

Here's what I found at my local "dollar store":

  • Locking plastic container: Obviously this is what I am using to put the rest of my kit items in. I like these "Tupperware" containers because they self-lock and will keep the contents fairly well protected.

  • Pain reliever/fever reducer/anti inflammatory: My preferred over the counter pain medication is naproxen sodium which is the active ingredient in Aleve. The reason it is my favorite is that it lasts for 12 hours, so you don't have to take it as frequently. It also is good for reducing fevers and helps with anti inflammation. 
  • Antihistamine: Diphenhydramine is the active ingredient in Benadryl, and if you are like me it will knock you on your ass. Besides the drowsy side effect it is also great at handling allergic reactions to stuff like insect bites, stings and poison ivy and poison oak. Not to mention common allergies like hay fever.

  • Anti-diarrhea: I hate to say it, but sometimes you eat or drink the wrong thing in the wild and you have to go with a fury. Diarrhea will dehydrate you like crazy, so it is helpful to be able o plug it up. Loperamide HCI is the active ingredient in Immodium AD.

  • Topical Analgesic & Skin Protectant: This goes hand in hand with the oral Benadryl medicine above. Anti-itch cream will help for rashes, and bug bites.

  • Antacid: I have had plenty of times when I'm out camping and something I ate gave me heartburn. Having a roll or pack of Tums is super handy.

  • Antibiotic ointment: This is basically the same stuff as Neoporin, and it's great for cuts because it keeps them from getting infected. Infection can be a killer if left untreated.

  • Assorted "Band-aids": Band-aid is the brand name for adhesive bandages. These are handy for various wounds you might sustain, and are easy to apply. You can use these in conjunction with the antibiotic ointment.

  • "Ace" Bandage: These types of sports bandages are handy for sprains and can also be used as wraps for splints when dealing with full on breaks.

  • Super Glue: Believe it or not, super glue is very handy for sealing up wounds. It stings like hell, but will stop bleeding and keep a wound sealed often times better than an adhesive bandage.

  • Hand Sanatizer: This is going to be handy for washing hands before trying to treat wounds, as well as cleaning out wounds to prevent infection. Not to mention it is a handy accelerant for fire starting.

It may seem like quite a bit, but each of these items fit quite nicely in my plastic "Tupperware" container!

All of this in the end cost me $10 plus tax (I already had a roll of Tums), which is not bad at all! If I went to the supermarket to buy these things it would be well over that I think! If you add the Tums, it would be $11 and some change.

There were a few items I left out of my kit that Wiseman suggested like surgical blades, butterfly sutures, a condom, anti-malaria pills and antibiotic pills. I felt that if it came to me needing to cut myself or someone else open that it was probably a dire situation, and I could probably use my knife. I felt the butterfly sutures were redundant since I had the assorted "Band-aids". The condom was for water collection, and I always have my canteen out in the wild. I'm also not too worried about malaria in Colorado. Finally antibiotic pills are not available over the counter in the United States.

If you do want to add something like an antibiotic in your kit though, you can get some garlic pills and put them in an Altoids tin for about $8.00 at your local supermarket. Sadly, I didn't see them in the "Dollar Store". Garlic contains allicin which is a natural antibiotic, and you can get that over the counter with no problems. It's important to note that antibiotics only work on bacterial infections and do not work on viruses. Ailments like The Flu or a Cold are caused by viruses, so antibiotics won't work.

 Have you made your own first aid kit? What did you put in it and why? Let us know in the comments!

I wrote a little bit about what to eat in the wild a few weeks ago when I mentioned Mykel Hawke's (Man, I've been writing about him a lot lately) recommendation for sticking with a meat only diet in the wild. When I read it in Hawke's Special Forces Survival Handbook it made a lot of sense to me. Up until that point I was trying to figure out what in Colorado is safe to eat in the wild, and I realized that perhaps my effort might be better spent elsewhere. If you want to know what I'm talking about, Hawke says:

Animals and insects can meet about 90% of all your nutrition needs in a survival situation, and it's an easier and safer bet to catch and kill animals than trying to subsist off of plants alone. Ounce for ounce, you will always get the most calories from meat over any other food source out there.
That being said, I don't think it's wrong to learn what is safe to eat as far as plants go. In fact, if your goal in life is to live off grid, or perhaps be a survival instructor yourself, then you should take the time to learn all of that stuff.

I'm a survival student for the fact that I like spending time outdoors hiking, camping, fishing, and geocaching. Because I'm outdoors a lot I want to know some general skills that will keep me alive long enough to either get rescued, or until I can find my way back to civilization. In my mind, I don't want to stay out in the wild longer than I have to. Because of that, Hawke's philosophy on sticking with meat really resonated with me because I really don't want to die from poisonous plants.

Okay, so if I'm only eating meat and insects and I'm only getting roughly 90% of my nutritional needs, what am I not getting that can hurt me? Well, one thing that you won't get very much of, if any on a meat only diet is vitamin C. Why is that important you ask? Well interesting enough with a lack of vitamin C you can develop scurvy which according to Wikipedia is:
...a disease resulting from a deficiency of vitamin C. Scurvy often presents initially with fatigue, followed by formation of spots on the skin, spongy gums, and bleeding from the mucous membranes. Spots are most abundant on the thighs and legs, and a person may look pale, feel depressed, and be partially immobilized. As scurvy advances, there can be open, suppurating wounds, loss of teeth, yellow skin, fever, neuropathy and finally death from bleeding
I never really thought about the need to prevent scurvy until I watched an episode of Alaska: The Last Frontier when Eivan Kilcher was talking about a time he only ate meat one winter and developed scurvy. After that I decided to find out what in my area had lots of vitamin C in it, because screw that shit!

Two things happen to be widely available in Colorado that I know of that give you lots of vitamin C, and will keep you scurvy free as well as just generally boost your immune system. They are:
  • Pine needles: If you clip the needles off of a pine tree you can boil them in water to create a perfectly safe to drink tea which will give you lots of vitamin C. I've read that not all pine needles are good though, and to stay away from really long pine needles. Short and stubby needles like you find on Spruce trees are safe though. I'll be honest, the tea tastes like the tree smells (Like Christmas!) so don't expect it to be like English Tea or anything.
    White Spruce Needles
  • Rose hips: These easy to identify red little berries are packed with vitamin C. You can eat them raw, but they taste like shit. Just like the pine needles, it's better to crush them up and boil them into a tea to drink. Again, it won't taste like Earl Grey, but it will taste like your ass not getting scurvy!
    Rose Hips
Long story short, if I were stuck in the wild I think I'd follow Hawke's guidance and stick primarily to a meat and insect diet. I would also make sure that if I found myself stuck in a survival situation in the Colorado mountains, that I'd take the time to pluck some pine needles or rose hips to boil in the water I was processing occasionally to stock up on vitamin C and stay scurvy free!

What other plants do you know of that are great for vitamin C? Let us know in the comments!

Look, nobody wants to talk about it, but it has to be addressed. What happens if you are stuck out in the middle of nowhere and you don't have any toilet paper to handle your business? Well, you have to wipe with something don't you?

Well the guys at Sigma 3 Survival School addressed it in the following video. This is not always addressed in survival manuals so pay attention!

I think the most surprising thing mentioned is a smooth rock! LOL!

If I'm just going on a hike or a camping trip I think I'd rather bring some Coleman Toilet Paper thank you very much, but if it runs out this video has some very helpful information.